Etiquette Questions, Answered: Social Situations
Should I Attend My Former Mother-In-Law's Funeral?
Q. My wife of 17 years and I have been separated for two months. But my mother-in-law just died. Should I attend the funeral?
Prospect Park, Pennsylvania
A. Only you know whether your presence at the funeral would be appreciated or resented. If you genuinely liked and respected your mother-in-law and are close with the family, then you probably should attend. However, I would make an exception if your current relationship with your wife is acrimonious.
In that case, you don't want to do anything to increase your wife's heartache on this already sad day. Stay away, and send a thoughtful note instead to let her know that you are sorry for her loss. If you have a fond memory or something nice to say about your mother-in-law, share it in a sentence or two. And consider making a donation in her name to the religious institution that she attended or a charity that she supported.